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Goodwood to pay tribute to Ecclestone

NEWS STORY
19/06/2017

For the past 20 years, the world-famous 'Central Feature' structure on the lawn in front of Goodwood House has been a towering focus of attention for race fans.

The imposing and hi-tech architecture has been used to celebrate many of the important milestones and anniversaries among the world's leading automotive manufacturers and their motorsport activities.

But the Gerry Judah-designed structure will take on a new significance next week, as the 2017 Festival of Speed celebrates for the first time the extraordinary life of an individual, a man whose legacy made a huge impact on the pinnacle of motorsport, the Formula 1 World Championship.

Bernie Ecclestone, F1 driver, manager, world-championship-winning team owner and impresario, will be honoured at this year's event, in a celebration that pays tribute to his long-held status as F1 ringmaster, a role that he used to build the sport into a multi-billion-dollar, global phenomenon watched by hundreds of millions of fans.

In the late 1940s and early '50s he raced both motorcycles and cars, entering the Monaco Grand Prix in a Connaught in 1958. He then turned his hand to driver management with both Stuart Lewis-Evans and 1970 World Champion Jochen Rindt.

In late 1971 he bought the Brabham F1 team, guiding it to World Championship glory. In 1974, at the request of other team owners, Bernie took control of the F1 Constructors' Association (FOCA) and for the next three decades, he guided F1 to become the most watched sport in the world, with a global television audience measured in hundreds of millions.

The Festival will explore 'The Five Ages of Ecclestone', which represent the five distinct eras of his career. Each age will be represented by a different car, fixed imposingly to the massive metal composition overlooking the site.

Driver

A regular competitor in 500cc Formula 3 Coopers during the late-1940s and early-'50s, the climax of Bernie's driving career came in 1958, when he entered the Monaco Grand Prix in a Connaught, having bought the team's assets the previous year.

Manager

After calling time on his driving career, Bernie turned his hand to management, guiding the careers of Englishman Stuart Lewis-Evans and Austrian Jochen Rindt. The latter became the sport's only posthumous World Champion in 1970, driving the iconic Gold Leaf Lotus 72.

Team Owner

At the end of 1971, Bernie purchased the Brabham F1 team, forming a formidable partnership with designer Gordon Murray, and drivers including Carlos Pace, Carlos Reutemann, Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet. Brazilian Piquet took the first of two World Championships for Brabham under Bernie's ownership in a Cosworth-powered BT49 in 1981.

Impresario

In the 1970s, Bernie took control of Formula 1's commercial rights, transforming the sport into a truly global powerhouse. The Ferrari F2001 represents Michael Schumacher's dominance of the early 2000s, when manufacturer involvement reached an all-time high and blue-chip sponsors sought to benefit from F1's unrivalled glamour and TV ratings.

Legend

Simply, there is only one 'Bernie' in motorsport. The 2016 World Championship-winning Mercedes F1 W07 brings the story of his time in Formula 1 right up to date.

"This is not so much a tribute, but rather a Goodwood celebration of a racer who has had such a huge influence on the sport we all love," said Festival of Speed founder Lord March. "It's wonderful that Bernie has agreed to spend the weekend at the Festival with many of the great names with whom he has worked during a life dedicated to racing. I'm also delighted that he will bring with him some great historic Grand Prix cars from his incredible collection."

Joining Ecclestone will be a number of F1 World Champions, team owners, engineers, designers and mechanics with whom he worked closely. At 3pm on Festival Sunday many of his friends, former employees and associates will gather in front of the house to acknowledge his enduring legacy.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by mickl, 19/06/2017 20:26

"@ Hardliner.....he'll also get a £100million advance for this year from the BRDC for his contribution to the sport and then with a 5% plus inflation increase for all subsequent years till the end of time"

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2. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 19/06/2017 19:48

"Hopefully those who appreciate his massive contribution to the sport will be there (I wish I could be). One day we may find out just how much of what has occurred in the recent past was of CVC's making, rather than he himself."

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3. Posted by Hardliner, 19/06/2017 17:57

"And guess what, Bernie's already bought all of the advance tickets to this event from Goodwood Estates and will shortly be offering them for sale, starting prices from £250. Oops, sorry, no, silly me, he's just sold them all on to Liberty Media, now they've gone up to £450, but you get a free hot dog thrown in, plus a singer you've never heard of belting out God Bless America. Repeat 21 times next season..."

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